I Survived 3 Weeks Without Social Media

Issue 16  //  · 

You’ve been issue a challenge!

  1. No social media for THREE WEEKS (no viewing + no posting)
  2. To prevent temptation, surrender your social media accounts and passwords (we promise not to peek!)
  3. If it helps, delete the apps from your phone for the duration of this challenge
  4. Keep a daily journal of how you are coping 🙂
  5. Have fun!

Challenge accepted!

Name: KALISTA WAN

Age: 18

Favourite social media platform: INSTAGRAM

Average time spent on social media a day: 3 HOURS (oh my!)

First joined social media? 2010 ON FACEBOOK

Longest time without social media: 3 DAYS

Quick Facts

More than 85% of Singaporean teens own a smartphone

Average time teens spend on social media:

3.4 hours a day

1 day a week

52 days a year

Average number of times a teen checks her phone in a day:

110 times

First Thoughts

When I first received the challenge, my eyes zoomed into one entirely capitalised word – ‘THREE’. Why? Because alarm bells were sounding in my head that I may not be able to survive this challenge. THREE weeks without social media?! I’ve gone three days without it before and I think a week is possibly ‘survivable’, but THREE weeks? Wow, this is real challenge indeed. Let’s see if I survive.

My daily log
Day 1: I failed, accidentally. The first thing I did when I woke up was to pick up my phone and scroll through my Instagram feed… When I realised what I had done, it was too late; I had already spent 6 minutes of my day on Instagram! I quickly surrendered my accounts to the Kallos Team and deleted my other social media apps. It was bittersweet – I knew I’d miss them, but I knew it was for a good cause. Throughout the day, I kept trying to check Instagram or Snapchat, only to realise again and again that they were gone. Oops. I felt a bit lost on the ride home because I was so used to checking social media while traveling. It’s only been one day, but I am already witnessing how much time I spend on social media.

Day 2: I miss my private account on Instagram that I use as a mini diary. However, I found myself less distracted by my phone and easily had more face-to-face conversations with my family and friends.

Day 3: It’s Mother’s Day! I really wanted to post something about my mum but I told her, “Mummy I love you but I’m on a social media challenge so I cannot post anything for you today”. I may have ‘cheated’ because I helped her post a photo on her Instagram account…

Day 4: It’s my mother’s birthday! Again, I really want to post something but it’s okay. It dawned on me that she knows my love for her and she loves me just the same with or without my post. Love you mummy.

Day 5-10: I’m able to leave the house with low battery and still survive for the day! Seems like social media not only takes up a lot of time, but also battery life, haha. Been reading the Bible on the way to school and I find myself intentionally spending more time with God. Realise that I also watch fewer Youtube videos and Korean dramas. I think it’s because I often see new videos while scrolling through Instagram, and when I see them I feel like I need to watch the full thing. But since I’m off Instagram, I just don’t get tempted and my urge to watch those videos is gone.

Day 11: It was such a bad day and I wanted to rant on my private account on Instagram. I ended up just crying by myself before finding a place to journal and talking to God. I guess finding solace in His truth is much better than taking it out on social media.

Days 12-17: This week, I feel like the voice of my flesh has gotten quieter. Going without social media has been a good break from all the insecurities that were amplified when I constantly looked at accounts of beautiful-looking girls that made me question and doubt my worth as a person and even as a child of God. Without the constant exposure to such images, it’s been easier for me to align my heart and my desires to God’s standards of beauty, focusing on my heart and not just my outward appearance.

Days 18-20: There have been so many moments when I wanted to let out my frustrations on Twitter or on my private Instagram account, but I couldn’t, so I confided in a friend and felt the ‘healing power’ of a proper heart-to-heart talk. When I totally did not touch my phone at all during the meet up, she was really happy that we could have that quality time together sharing about our lives.

Day 21: Wow. I really cannot believe today is the last day!! It feels so surreal that I don’t have the habit of whipping out my phone and checking my social media anymore. That said, I’m glad to have my accounts back!

Closing Thoughts

I’ve definitely discovered the pros and cons of social media for myself. On one hand, it’s so useful for keeping up-to-date with my friends, especially those I hardly get to see. It’s also great for sharing my thoughts or showing public appreciation.

On the other hand, this challenge shed light on how dependent I was on social media. On hindsight, it’s scary to think that I initially thought that I wasn’t really dependent on social media at all! For the first few days, I kept unconsciously checking my phone when I was bored and feeling weird that I couldn’t check Instagram first thing in the morning. By the last week of the challenge, I really had no urge to whip out my phone to check social media anymore and I found that there are just so many other more meaningful things that I can spend my time on!

I also realised how I was being subconsciously affected by the people I follow online. My time without social media revealed that what I was exposed to translated into unrealistic ideals that I had for myself, especially about how I look.

Moving forward, I intend to unfollow some of my ‘idols’ on social media, as the standards that they set are unhealthy for me. I’m glad that with this break from social media, I’ve won back so much time that I used to waste… In fact, I now find it quite troublesome to spend so much time in a day checking my phone and scrolling through my feed!

Challenge completed!